AKRON, Ohio — For 68-year-old Russell Dossie, ice cream is not only his business. It's also his passion.
The owner of Triple D Ice Cream in Akron didn't hesitate when asked about his favorite tasty treat stored in his freezer.
"My favorite was the chocolate banana fudge. That's how I lost these two teeth," Dossie said while smiling and pointing to his mouth.
But Dossie isn't laughing about what happened at the storage unit he rents in Akron. He was the victim of a theft that has left his fleet of five trucks frozen.
Sometime during the off-season, someone broke into the unit off Moe Drive and stole a bunch of tools valued at approximately $3,000.
The items included welders, power tools, hand tools, a hydraulic jack stand and a generator.
The crime has put the brakes on the business because Dossie frequently needs the tools to make repairs to the truck which are all over 20-years-old. Dossie said fixing up the seasonal trucks is part of the annual process of getting them roadworthy.
Now he's scrambling to figure out how to get the trucks ready for the busy season as the weather warms.
"You know it's bad for the kids too, because kids are very excited. It's very disappointing for them," Dossie said.
The theft also hurts his regular ice cream truck drivers who can't get on their routes to earn money they depend on.
The extra aggravation is something Dossie didn't need after COVID-19 stalled the business in 2020.
"It got rough because a lot of the drivers, they got sick and couldn't work so I shut it down," Dossie said.
The owner said he also feels a sense of frustration because he enjoys helping the community and sometimes gives away ice cream to kids who can't afford it.
"I like helping the kids. Although you've got a lot of adults that like ice cream too."
Cameras outside of the storage unit didn't capture the break-in. Dossie suspects the crook turned the cameras away from the door before committing the crime.
The "cold case" has touched a nerve with some in the Akron.
Randy Adair, owner of Berran Industrial Group, stopped by Triple D Ice Cream and offered Dossie possible help with tools and welding.
"What can we do to help him get his trucks on the road so my granddaughter and her friends can see the ice cream truck in the neighborhood?" Adair said. "I decided I wanted to contact Russell and see if there was something I could do to help."
Dossie said with community kindness, he hopes to get his trucks rolling again soon and bring back that familiar taste of summer.
In the meantime, he's also delivering a message to the thief.
"You know who you are. Bring them back. I won't press charges. Bring my tools back," he said. "You're not just hurting me. You're hurting a lot of the people in the community that are depending on me."